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PROJECT TOPIC: THE IMPACT OF POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN THE CONSOLIDATION OF NIGERIA DEMOCRACY A CASE STUDY OF 2011 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 Background of the StudyElection provide citizens with the opportunity of exercising their constitutionally imputed sovereignty over those responsible for the exercise of executive and legislative powers in the society, it is the cardinal pillars of democratic governance. Through free and fair elections, citizens in a democratic society are able to vote for the candidate of their choice, based on their coherently articulated policies.In every democratic system of governance, election is the only legitimate determinant entrance to political office or leadership, and it is an important element for facilitating good governance practices and consolidation of democracy. Elections provide avenue for the electorate to express their will and sovereignty and give legitimacy to their political leaders. Election periods give an opportunity for the electorate to assess not only the performance of the party in power but indicate their expectations of the future government. Hence, the power to rule or to lead emanates from the citizens or the electorate. To elect and to be elected into any political office is both a political and human right. The Article 21 of 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that, “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government as expressed in periodic and genuine elections.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections” (Heyns, Killander; 2007). Therefore voting in an election is both a political and civic right for every citizen in a country of origin to exercise when it is due. Elections all over the world are contested by political parties and candidates who demonstrate their capabilities and articulate policies and programmes that they believe reflect the aspirations of the people.In Nigeria, successive election since the colonial period lacked the essential ingredients of democratic electoral process, which are transparency, fairness and freeness. Instead election in the country is characterized by ineffective electoral dispute resolution mechanism.Election violence is not of new phenomenon in the country. However the previous, elections in the country especially in 2011 presidential election was marked with violent attacks in westerns region, Oyo and Ondo states in several Northern states respectively it was characterized by large scale loss of lives and destruction of property.Electoral violence refers to the use of threat of force against an opponent within the context of electoral competition for state power. It is inhibitive of democratic transition and consolidation. This act includes murder, arson, abduction, assault, rioting, violent seizure and destruction of electoral materials and psychological intimidation. These forms of violence destroy the foundational elements of democracy choice and consent, civil participation, accountability rule at law and trust in state officials and institutions.Justice Sowemimo in his judgment in the treasonable Felony against Obafemi Awolowo and his accomplices observed that:On the evidence before me, it would appear that politics generally in Nigeria has been conducted with a certain amount of bitterness. It appears that a person belonging to a party becomes an enemy of another who belong to a rival political party. Political parties are equivalent to warring camps (Anitowose, 1982).The April 2011 general elections in Nigeria were regarded as among the fairest in the country’s history but also among the bloodiest. More than 800 people died in three days of rioting in 12 states in Northern Nigeria. Aid worker estimated that 65,000 people were displaced during the elections (Human Rights Watch 2011). The outbreak at violence and the resultant displacement is at least in part attributed to inflammatory statements made by political leaders and discount in the media before, during and after the elections (Patricia Female 2011) while the discourse surrounding the zoning formula threatened to tear apart the people’s Democratic party (PDP) some major players were threatening chaos if a Southerner re-emerged as the presidential candidate of the party (Adegby, 2010).The pattern and trend of election violence in 2003 and 2007 partly explain the post-election violence in April 2011. In particular, the absence of effective resolution of grievances in past presidential elections may be seen as a source of frustration-aggression exhibited during the post-presidential election in April 2011. Other factors to which the violence may be attributed are: Dubious arguments pertaining to zoning in the PDP. Many supporters of Jonathan presidential ambition in and out of PDP denied the existence of zoning in PDP constitution despite the contrary. It is significant that the same people resurrect zoning principle after the election; Unprecedented activation and mobilisation of ethnic, regional and religious boundaries and prejudices during the campaign; Visit to powerful traditional rulers by southern politicians and state governors to canvass support for Jonathan portrayed the rulers as collaborators in what was considered as a plot to deny the North its right under the PDP zoning arrangement; Structure and capacity of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The party was new and attracted large support base that it lacked capacity to manage. This problem was compounded by lack of support for the party by middle and upper class politicians, even in the Northern states, who were afraid that Buhari would send them to prisons for past corrupt practices. As a result, the support base of the party was largely the relatively unemployed, uneducated and underprivileged youth in many Northern states that were not given necessary political education and direction in a democratic election. The violence should not be attributed to CPC alone given internal crisis in the PDP due to the way it handled its primaries and nomination; Discrepancy between the level of turn-out and elections results in the South-South and South-East Zones. On the day of presidential election, media reported low turn-out in many states in the zones. However, the results declared a day later indicated extra-ordinarily high turn-out of voters who also voted overwhelmingly for Jonathan and PDP. The discrepancy was viewed as evidence of massive rigging by supporters of opposition parties, especially in some Northern state. Incidentally, the pattern observed in 2011 election was not very different from patterns in 1999, 2003 and 2007. The two zones have a political culture of declaration of results that indicated nearly 100% voter turn-out, even when media and observers’ reports on the election days indicate otherwise. It is within this context that the study intends to examine the impact of post-election violence in consolidation of Democracy in Nigeria.1.2 Statement of the ProblemNigeria being a country with a history of electoral violence has found it difficult to take its rightful place in the comity of developed nation despite having all it takes in booting its economy and political stamina. Mu’Azu (2000) opined that in every democratic dispensation elections have come to be known and accepted as the bedrock of a stable polity as it represents an organized and peaceful transition from one rule to another. However, the basic character of elections has been defected as conflict ridden situations have historically featured in all election conducted in Nigeria.Consequently, issues surrounding the electioneering process potentially relate to violence and violations of the rights of individual. Thus, rather than serve as a means and process of exercising legitimate political rites. Elections in Nigeria have turn out to be a serious political liability, causing insecurities and threatening the foundations of country’s nascent democracy. Evidence has shown that in the whole of Africa continent and Nigeria in particular, it cannot be said that there have been genuinely conducted free and fair election. Though, 2011 presidential election was generally acceptable by both local and foreign observers to be partially free and fair when compared with the 2003 and 2007 election conducted under the fourth republic the election witness post-electoral violence (that is after the announcement of result).Election results trickled on April, and it became clear that Buhari had lost, his supporters took to streets of Northern towns and cities to protest what they alleged to be the rigging of the results, that incident led to the killing of more than 800 people according to the report by Human Right Watch (Supra). Despite repeated outbreaks of election violence federal and state governments since 1999 have done little to address the root cause of violence. Various committees and commission of inquiring have been set up over the year to investigate cases of election violence but there is an obvious absence at an institutional and legal solution, this absence of an effective redress mechanism has only produced more violence. One basic fact remain that violence in election has always been a major threat to democracy consolidation in Nigeria. Though there is a plethora of literature in election violence in Nigeria, gap exist as to the causal relationship between electoral violence and consolidation of democracy in Nigeria. It is within this context that the study intends to examine how post electoral violence has enhance or hinders democracy consolidation in Nigeria.Objective of the StudyMain Objective:The objective of this study is to examine how the causal relationship between post election violence and consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.Subsidiary Objectives:

To examine how post-election violence has impacted negatively on democratic consolidation in Nigeria.To examine the causes of election violence in Nigeria.To examine the institutional mechanism put in place to foster election violence to evaluate whether impact of post-election violence hinders political stability in Nigeria.To proffer solution on ways to mitigate electoral violence in Nigeria.


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